This musical album is fall under world music category. This album accompanied with a story line. type of album is an entirely new concept and new attempt in Indian Music Industry.
Ilaiyaraaja is well known for his background score in movies and he is the best idol for Indian film music. This album will promote the Indian film music scenarios to international audience. Mr. K. C. Low, former Asia Pacific Director of Warner Chappell Music expressed his thought about the music in this album as “This music has his own uniqueness and originality. It’s a great pleasure for me to know about Ilaiyaraaja”.
The album contains 10 tracks. The music itself has its own story line and the listeners can easily identify the beginning, the climax and the ending of the album. However, Agi Music provides a storyline for this album. Nevertheless, Agi suggests the audience to imagine their own version of the story to digest the music and motivates the listener to interpret their own meaning or the story which is hidden in this musical work.
The Story of Music Messiah
It was the worst of times, and God was deeply concerned. As He sat in high heaven, all He could hear were the sounds of conflict and violence erupting everywhere on Earth below. In fact, the awful music of discord could be heard spreading, infecting surrounding worlds and all creatures of the universe. It was time, decided God, to let flow His infinite pity and save Earth from impending doom.
But wait! What was it that had caused this crisis? Why had humans forsaken unity and love? What could have possibly led them to embrace conflict and hatred, and set them upon a path of self destruction? It was all Indra’s doing. Arrogant Indra had always considered himself far superior to humans. Was he not the ruler of Paradise? And should not Paradise, that heavenly abode, the one and only place where eternal bliss was attainable, forever remain the ultimate goal of humans? Why then were they trying to turn Earth into a heaven for themselves?
Before Indra’s machinations, there had been a time, the best of times, when humans had done it–by their good deeds and piety, they had transformed Earth into a safe and heavenly place. Oh! What a time it had been, when human love and ideals had burst forth in the form of joyous music, rooting out the seeds of conflict and violence. As that music spread and calmed the surrounding worlds and the universe, even heavenly beings had begun to regard Earth as a sacred place. All heavenly beings except one, Indra!
Threatened by the growing prestige of humans, Indra decided to act. But he had to be careful not to incur the wrath of God. And so he hatched a plot, a musical plot! On a certain night, when humans were fast asleep, he began to play a magical tune that began to invade the deep recesses of the human mind. For twenty nights, Indra played his music until he was satisfied that he had turned human faith into fear, love into arrogance, contentment into greed, and friends into enemies. Ultimately, when humans began to forget God, Indra knew that he had succeeded in destroying human prestige. Their music too had changed. Gone were those joyous melodies. Instead, sounds of death, fear, anger, and violence erupted everywhere. It was that awful music of discord that God heard now. It warned Him that Doomsday was imminent. It was time for divine intervention, time to remove Indra’s curse.
As God began to ponder a solution, He realized that removing the musical curse of Indra
would require a new and powerful music, one that could uproot the hatred and ignorance sown deep into the human mind. However, that solution itself posed another hurdle: Indra had found it easy to influence humans because he had caught them in a state of deep and untroubled sleep!
But now, fear anger and violence had deprived humans of sleep. Where could He find music that could calm and transform those troubled human minds? And so God, in His infinite wisdom, decided that He would become music incarnate. And thus was born a new and wondrous music that began to penetrate and shake every atom and soul it touched. Man and nature began to respond to God’s music which was heard day and night without pause. It spread throughout the universe and reached the ears of that other music maker - Indra!
As Indra listened to the ethereal sounds, he realized that no one could actually create such music. On the contrary, the music seemed to hold within it the power to create life and the universe! It was unstoppable because it was the core music that resonates in every atom and every living thing. It could only end if and when God chose to destroy His creation in its entirety. The music was God Himself. This realization brought a deep sense of remorse and Indra repented for what he had done.
And so the divine music flowed unabated for several years until, one day, humans awoke from their sleep and heard it as if for the first time. Where did the music come from, they wondered. Ah! It was from the shaking of trees and their leaves! Or was it from the movement of the wind? No, it arose from the ocean. No, no, it was radiating from the sun. Or again, it could be from the singing birds. Exhausted from their search for the music source, humans were forced to rest. And while at rest, the great truth came to them. The music was actually arising from within them! They, the humans were the music source! In truth, the music was not new at all. It was the same music that they had once possessed and lost due to Indra’s curse.
Once again, Earth’s music was regaining its beneficial powers. It removed ignorance and made humans repent their wrongdoings. It taught forgiveness and brought solace. Men began to throw away their weapons into the sea and offered prayers to those who had died in conflict. God had let flow His infinite grace in the form of music that would sustain Earth’s blissful state forever. The Earth would no longer need great human saviours, or God’s reincarnations, or messengers. Once again, the music began to pervade other worlds and was heard all the way up to heaven. God heard it and smiled.
ILAIYARAAJA - The Maestro
In the Tamil film music history, the late sixties and early seventies will surely rank as a dry patch. The film music scores were mostly rehashes of the hits of the earlier two decades. Or they were pale imitations of the hybrid music of Hindi Film Music. It was almost as if the world of Tamil Film Music was waiting for a messiah. And then in 1976, Annakili was released. Every song was a super hit which has given a fresh breath to the ongoing dullness of Tamil film songs. The predominant opinion of Critics was that the film Annakili would not have been the hit it was but for its mesmerizing folk music based score. But nobody had any doubt that a new messianic force had entered the Tamil Film music world with a new name Ilayaraaja. He re-energized Tamil Film music industry and came to be recognized as a phenomenon.
He was born Rasayya on June 2, 1943 in Pannaipuram village of Tamilnadu, which did not have even a school. As a boy, he had to walk to Kombai, the nearest town, just to get a basic education. Family exigencies forced him to give up studies after class eight and sing for his elder step brother, who gave concerts in the surrounding villages and towns. Thus began the musical journey of a music composer sans peers.
In 1968, at the age of twenty five, Rasayya left his village for Chennai to find work as a musician in films. As aspiring musicians were expected to read western musical notation he started lessons with the late Master Dhanraj, who introduced him to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and other western classical composers. Rasayya, whose name had by then changed to Raja and he began work as an assistant to film music director G.K.Venkatesh. This apprenticeship lasted for a few years until he met a producer who changed his life forever. The producer was Panju Arunachalam, who was looking for a new music director for his film Annakili. Panju Arunachalam not only gave Raja the job, but also an exciting new name: Ilayaraaja, translatable as youthful Raja or prince.
Annakili’s extraordinary success had a bandwagon effect. Everyone wanted Ilayaraaja to score the music for his film. In the late seventies it was one sure-fire way of selling the film to distributors. It was another matter that when Panju Arunachalam wanted to distribute Annakili, it had few takers. It was therefore the music listeners and the film goers who made the success of Ilayaraaja. And once he got going there was no stopping for him. A whole bunch of imitators followed in his shadows. The number of films scored per year rose steadily and in 1992 Ilayaraaja scored music for a record 56 films. By 2004 his score card had over 800 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.
There were hundreds of films whose success was attributed to iayaraaja’s musical score alone. Many renowned film directors were forced to look for new music talent to establish their autonomy and credentials though Ilayaraaja himself remained a humble and cooperative professional. Rumours abounded predicting Ilayaraaja’s decline as a film music director. But Ilayaraaja survived all of them, that to great acclamation every time he took the baton. He won three national awards for the films Sagara Sangamam in 1983, Sindhu Bhairavi in 1985 and Rudra Veena in 1988. In 1988, the then Chief Minister, M.Karunanidhi, himself an eminent littérateur and orator, bestowed on him the title of Isaignani.
In his younger days, when he was being knocked about in a feudal society, he must have found his mother a great source of succor and affection. It is said, when he stepped out of Pannaipuram into the wide world, he did so as an atheist. But when he stepped into the sanctum sanctorum of Moogambigai Temple in Kollur, he felt an intense spiritual experience taking possession of his mind and forever changed him.
Ever since he has extolled motherhood at every opportunity. His many songs on mother and motherhood continues to move the Tamil audience. When he sang Enna Peththa aaththa in the film Ennai Vittu Pogathe, the Tamil audience cried with him.
Although an exceptional composer belongs to all those who hear his music, Ilayaraaja belongs to the Tamils in a very special way. He stormed into their entertainment world and took them on a musical journey of their villages, temples and the Chennai metropolis. He released Carnatic and western classical music from their ivory towers and made them available to every layman. The Tamil lyrics, some penned by Ilayaraaja himself expressed their traditional values and moved them deeply.
Ilayaraaja is considered a marvel for many reasons. First, there is the sheer volume of work in films. Then there is the pace and method, which have become legendary. He arrives early in the morning at the Prasad Recording Studio, Chennai, and within a couple of hours finishes writing the notations for the day’s recording in its entirety for the singers and instruments. The rest of the day is spent in recording, editing and mixing.
Ilayaraaja’s compositions outside of films have also greatly enhanced his reputation which peaked in 1993 when he recorded a western classical symphony with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of John Scott. The symphony was written in less then a month.
Above all there is the outstanding quality of the music itself. Although Ilayaraaja’s musical sensibility is anchored to bedrock of recognizable genres like the Indian folk, Western classical and Carnatic classical, he has an uncanny ability to separate and unify these genres at will. Short listing his use of innovative strategies in film music is difficult. They include: lengthy and well-structured orchestral interludes between the stanzas, exquisite over dubbing of voices, extended use of chorus seconds and the seamless blend of Indian folk, Carnatic and western classical styles.
He was as adept at creating a large set of varied songs based on a single popular Carnatic raga as he was of using an uncommon raga. As for the folk songs they are crafted with a Vivaldian capacity for infinite variety within a given format. His ability to richly layer his orchestration and to match the song to the singer, the lyrics to the tune and the overall score to the situation and mood is unparalleled.
There is perhaps a final and overriding reason to call Ilayaraaja a phenomenon. His achievement belies his meager formal training in music. There was undoubtedly a musical side to his life in Pannaipuram. He won a Gold Medal in classical guitar from Trinity College London in just six months. He had some years of training in Carnatic classical music under T.V. Gopalakrishnan and the western classical training under Master Dhanraj. But the question remains: how could someone exposed only to folk tunes and popular Tamil film songs for the first twenty five years of his life and with just a few years training, vault film music to such unprecedented heights of beauty and sophistication? And how was he able to take his music so far beyond the film medium?
John Scott, the Composer and Conductor of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London who conducted Ilayaraaja’s Symphony said, “I have now had the privilege of conducting Ilayaraaja’s new work, a work of symphonic proportions in five movements and lasting well over an hour. I understand that this is his first symphonic work and in it he proves that he is a master composer capable of communicating a wealth of melody and emotion”. Michael Townsend, an experienced musician and Music Director, London said, “I went to Madras with considerable respect for this man but still retaining a degree of skepticism for what I suspected were the more extravagant claims for the magnitude of his output… My awe and admiration for him increased when I realized that without the aid of lists of music cues, a music editor or even a stopwatch, the maestro was able to compose accurately a piece for a particular film cue which fitted exactly not only the required timing but also the mood and pace of the action on the screen, heightening the tension if it was a fight scene, or enhancing with beautiful lyrical melodies the romantic mood of a love scene, or just adding spontaneous joyous excitement rhythmically to a dance scene”.
Ilayaraaja’s musical output was of such far-reaching influence that the University of Annamalai in 1994 and the University of Madurai Kamarajar in 1996 conferred on him Degrees of Doctor of Letter. He was conferred the Cultural Doctorate in Philosophy of Music in 1994 by the World University Round Table, Arizona, USA.
Ilayaraaja himself has said time and again that his music is the gift from God. It is well known that within a few years of his debut in films his appearance and personality underwent a drastic and permanent change. He shaved his head, donned traditional white clothes, became a vegetarian, marked his forehead with ‘kungumam’ and ‘vibhuti’, and turned into a recluse. The change was a spiritual awakening that insulated him from the pressures of the commercial world of cinema and at the same time fuelled his creative energy to set and achieve its own goals. It is in this new avatar that the composer has produced and continues to create his best music both in films and outside.
A practically unlettered son of the soil from Pannaipuram has been able to communicate with the best in the Music World, in the West as well as in the East through his creative musical energy which is a grand feat very few have achieved. Salutes the Maestro who enriched our lives with his unparalleled achievements in popular music.